Written by 9:24 pm Music

Beres treats loyal fans

Beres Hammond in performance.Photo: Facebook

Throughout his performance on the ‘Evening of Elegance’ show last Saturday at NYCB Theater in Westbury in Long Island, Beres Hammond referred to the audience as his “loyal and royal fans”. Their rapturous response was just like that of subjects to a king.

Hammond and his 11-piece band gave an excellent performance, complemented by solid interludes from saxophonist Dean Fraser, jazz pianist Monty Alexander, Stephen “Cat” Coore on cello, and violinist Brooke Alford.

A full house (2,800) turned out in chilly conditions to see the 68-year-old Hammond, who belted out a remarkable 25 hit songs. He began with the ballad One Step Ahead and closed with Rockaway, a tribute to his musical heroes.

Following the show — which was promoted by Jamaican George Crooks and monitored by LiveNation — Hammond told the Jamaica Observer that he fed off the audience’s energy.

American actor and singer Leon Robinson (left) speaking with Beres Hammond before the reggae singer took the stage on the Evening of Elegance show in New York last Saturday. (Photo: Steve James)

“When mi si Dean dem, an’ Monty dem an’ Cat, an’ di fans, mi jus’ get somewhat energy from dem ’cause dem is di last of di great musicians. What I count is di blessings, an’ mi love dat. All I desired to know is my voice was in shape suh mi can meet di people’s demands,” he said.

Hammond walked down memory lane within the show’s first half. He reflected on a profession that was discouraged by his father in Annotto Bay, St Mary, but encouraged by a mother who recognised his talent and sent him to Kingston where he tried his luck.

One Step Ahead and I’m in Love had the audience humming, but once the band struck up No Goodbye, it was non-stop ‘rockers’. What One Dance Can Do, Come Back Home, Step Aside, There For You, I Feel Good, and Tempted to Touch set the pace for Fraser whose refreshing interpretations of ska, folk, and roots-reggae standards were well-received.

Alexander, who preceded Hammond on-stage, returned on harmonica for a pleasant clash of people and rub-a-dub songs with Fraser.

Coore was sharp on cello. The high point of his performance was a poignant rendition of I Pledge my Heart in tribute to actress Leonie Forbes, who died on October 25.

Hammond returned to shut the evening with a flourish, built around Love From A Distance, Double Trouble, Putting up Resistance, Play Some More, They Gonna Talk, and Full Attention.

Beres Hammond is scheduled to shut his 2022 live shows on December 3 in Nassau, The Bahamas.

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